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20 Fenchurch Street Inquiry Opens

The public inquiry into 20 Fenchurch Street has opened with English Heritage lining up against the developer, Land Security.

On the first day the lawyer representing English Heritage concentrated partly on cross examining the architect of the scheme, Rafael Vinoly, about the environmental credentials of the building he designed.

Robert McCracken, QC, picked out the amount of glazing that will cover the building, some 33,000 square meters, and the electricity requirement of keeping it cool which would be 21 million kilowatt hours per year. That's 57,534 per day or 19.17 per employee assuming that the building has 3000 people working there.

Whilst this might sound like a lot, it compares favourably to other commercial premises hosting a similar number of workers and complies fully with the government's own strict environmental requirements for a new office block, not to mention the even more stringent ones overseen by Mayor of London. Energy use is even lower in reality as the building will not have gas fitted to it, it will be entirely electric whilst 10% of the total power use will be generated on site from renewables.

What makes the attack particularly unusual is that English Heritage have latched on to this figure, scarily huge but totally meaningless without a comparison presented. This is so much the case of pointless statistics that no environmental groups tried to get the building referred to the Secretary of State so a public inquiry could be carried out into it.

English Heritage were set up under the 1983 Heritage Act with a remit specifically agreed by parliament on protecting historic monuments and funded by the taxpayer placing English Heritage clearly outside what has been agreed in an act of parliament.

A lot more of this can be expected in weeks to come along with the spectacular argument of how the shortest skyscraper furthest away from the Tower of London is the most damaging of all whilst they failed to oppose the Minerva Building.

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20 Fenchurch Street

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20 Fenchurch Street London
20 Fenchurch Street London